Coastal Path 1991 Series – Part Three
This is a large post, which has been some time waiting. It arose from within my Coastal Path terrain. It was a channeling. It remained my major milestone, because after writing it all down, I found myself in a different place from when I began. With it came some understanding with Ramana Maharshi’s astrology. See also (river water, stone, nodes) my 18 July post “Portraits & Poems of Eclipse for Ramesh – a Revision“
(1) A Meditation on Eclipse
(2) Ramana Maharshi’s Horoscope: eclipse, darshan and mutual reception
(1) ON ECLIPSE August 1991
IT IS about 9.30 on an August evening in Pembrokeshire, South Wales, and darkness has gathered. There is not time to reach the top of Carn Enoc, whose tump stands proud upon the dark round breast of the hill above me. Carn Enoc is a rocky tumulus marking the central or half way point of the St Davids-to-Cardigan ley-line, and very very old. Tonight I have to return to London. My tent and belongings are stashed at a friendly snack-bar at the Harbour station in Fishguard, and this is my final expedition, pedaling up the dark Gwaun Valley – where they still keep the old calender: deep fissures in the landscape, unchanging – to the open hillside. The legs have had enough. The bike lies on the grass by the hedge, for I have at last found an ancient site to “travel home about”! A row of four giant standing stones broods along the hedge, two of them marking the gate posts.
This is the Stone Row of Parc y Meirw, the FIELD OF THE DEAD.
(The portal. In the background, far left, are Fishguard Harbour and the distant hill near Pyllderi and Strumble Head. Photo from http://www.megalithic.co.uk)
The sky has that strange radiance of early night that shimmers somewhere between violet and green, and the Moon has risen over the tense and sleeping field of grass, dazzling white and gold. She is in her first Quarter at the end of Scorpio, so she is one-half of a seed. “Harvest Moon!” I quote, as I greet each silent stone.
Two months later … October 1991
My guide-book, the Pembrokeshire Explorer, tells me that this row of stones is an astronomic tool for predicting solar and lunar eclipses, which it does with pin-point sensitivity. It lines up with the summit of Mount Leinster 91 miles away over the sea in the Irish Wicklow hills. When the Moon setting appears to slip down the righthand side of Mount Leinster, there will next day be here in South Wales a solar eclipse if it is near New moon, or a lunar eclipse if Full.
The priests who exercised this knowledge measured many other phenomena of the world. It seems to me, this line of stones is positioned in precise angular relationship also to the tumuli on the hill of Enoc, for the fruit of other observations.
Enoch in the Old Testament was He who walked with God. “And he was not, for the Lord took him.” The Celtic version of this name is Enoc, or “cone” backwards. Here’s a co-ordinate for inner reflection, because much Hermetic power is lodged in these syllables. The stone circles in this country are felt to be contemporaneous with the Pyramids. Their builders, as those in Egypt, tapped fields of magnetic energy in Earth, focused stellar and luminary observation with the infinite reach of the human spirit, and guarded these openings of the oracular sciences with rings of negative ions to keep away unwary fools. For they worked in fields outside time. The bulk of their activity is invisible in the temporal and historical context. It enabled them to See.
If you are a druid or seer, and you step through the portal into the field of your profession, no outsider can perceive your tools or what they invoke; because you enter the ‘standing’ current of the electro-magnetic field. And if you are, say, an ancient Atlantean, you are wise to leave no tangible trace of your knowledge, for the structure of the atom is potentially lethal to those who are merely curious or hungry for power. You enter the field of operations where Time is not. The work is an intimate relationship with the local climate, as with planets of the Solar universe which encircle their nucleus. When each phase of this work is done, you “close down:” to ensure no unlawful spillage. You keep away trespassers with rings of repellent power – it sends them to sleep.
It is thought that the magi of ancient times practiced a technology which integrated static electricity with the prana or breath of Oriental teaching. With it they could influence the relative weight of quarried stone, so as to transport its mass to a sacred site. The laser focus of the spirit, entering the heart of the electro-magnetic field, can alter and manipulate its relative densities. The prana is vital cosmic current, as intercepted by each individual organism. That is to say, the prana breathes the individual, not the other way round. My outbreath is the inhalation of cosmic prana; and when I breathe in, the ALL exhales into me and gives me life. Thus JHVH breathed out into clay to form ADAM: this word means Earth.
And so I seem to see these great stones transported substantially – though with token physical effort and organization – upon a cushion of this vital prana or cosmic breath, like a modern hovercraft, or a floating raft of logs to roll it down the river. Dark blue stones from the Preseli Hills near here were transported to Wiltshire, to build Stone Henge.
Various experiments have demonstrated that a person in a state of deep concentration becomes physically less dense – that is, actually lighter. If he or she sits in a chair, four friends with a spontaneous concert of will, can easily raise him up with their fingertips – this I have tried, and seen for myself. The relationship between gravity and the vital current is less predictable than it seems. A meditator rises. Isn’t it astonishing how lightly our physical body can be taken upstairs, a pair of lovers flip positions, a gesture flow like water through an arm, a dancer through one small equilibrating movement? Only the molecular substance of flesh, fluid, muscle, is inert – or death to the dance within the atom.
The forgotten yet simple skill could enter the dense gravitational field of stone, and let “I’ become its vital sub-atomic current; here we have a concentration of material which, when conscious, changes its weight. The stone may be made to move with the living coordinate.
Dattatreya, the Guru of Nature, the elements, and every day
So also, we have sculpture, the forms and presences of the gods. We have the Gothic cathedrals of the Templars, in which mass converts to light. The density, the groundweight of the flying buttresses to each side, maintains the opening of the ogive or soaring arch, taut as a musical string. Feel the vault of Chartres, how it opens upward like the bud of a flower. The buttresses and pillars are guylines. They peg its soaring tabernacle to earth. The Masonic science of the arch does not lean-to upon itself. It keeps the art of light, of birth, just opening outward, like the bud, like fingertips in prayer which touch. The gravitational pull is inverted: stone is pulled heavenwards, like the way our spine lifts in the Alexander technique. And so you go in, and you open your eyes from the ground.
This is an example of how the gross weight of stone converts to consciousness – a temple which cannot decay or fall. The cathedrals were built along the same principles as the stone circles – using pegs and lengths of string to mark out interlacing circles and their vesica pisces. The Master gave the architect a sacred blueprint. Solomon’s wisdom entered the rock.
Seven branch Star
Old tales around more ancient stone circles are told: at Rollright, some of the stones from the circle of silence “travel” down to the stream at dead of night, to drink. Water and stone. Moses struck the rock with his staff of authority (priesthood, the meaning of Aaron) and the water of life came forth. This water is consciousness. The staff is the Rod. During the initiation of Moses, JHVH said to him “What is that in your hand?” Moses replied, “a rod”. And JHVH said “Cast it upon the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses fled from it. But JHVH said to Moses “Put out your hand and take it by the tail.” So he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a ROD in his hand.
Polarity – triple staff/caduceus
The rod, in Tarot (a spelling of Torah, the Law) sprouts and becomes the Suit of Wands.
Polarity – Mercury, staff, mandorla
The Serpent power or kundalini, of Yoga, is likewise the vital current through Earth’s ley-lines or subtle conduits. It runs through the meridians of acupuncture in ancient medicine. It is called in many cultures, the Dragon which encircles and defends the gold or the Grail, and has to be tamed and subdued. Every site of sacred power, every mound, tower or ring of stones along a ley-line, is an outlet of the Dragon. Legends of the saints who did battle with Dragons, are tales of those who were learning to master their own raw unconscious. They learned to spear the visionary ego at every outlet of sacred science.
(The root of this word “science”, is knowledge. Self knowledge. When dogmatic, it becomes an organised religion, whatever the white coat it wears may believe.)
Polarity – Nodal ourobouros
The same Serpent power is the ascending and descending Node of the Moon. At these antipodeal points north and south of the Equator, the lunar orbit around Earth intersects Earth’s orbit around the Sun. The Nodes are known as the Dragons Head (north of equator) and Tail (south). Their position on the ecliptic moves clockwise or “retrograde” around the zodiac, taking just over eighteen-and-a-half years to complete a full circle. The Serpent in a circle devours its own tail. If you are able to take your Dragon by the tail – the tension which is coiled up in old habits and reaction – and let that river of power straighten … you flow with your Dragon’s Head or ascending Node, to create new fields of reality. You may be used like Moses, as an instrument. Your destiny may materialize in or as a tide of history. Or, to use another analogy, an old wound may heal. The healer’s art, like the priestly chrism or power, taps into this Nodal electricity.
In yoga, the serpent – encompassing a dimension beyond that discussed – is coiled at the base of the subtle spine at the root chakra, like a wheel. She is led to rise, straighten and open through five intermediary chakras or wheels up the subtle spine, to the “wheel” of the thousand petalled Lotus at the Crown. The Eastern snake is thus charmed up through seven chakras of the body. The coiled serpent at the base of the spine – our plant stem – is the root, deep in dark earth. When it is purified and naturally uncoils like a fern in spring, the “white” current flows without impediment, like a laser beam.
The word chakra means “wheel”. The chakras are waves which emanate concentrically from their subtle centre. Karma – the inertia-momentum of action – is similarly a centrifugal coagulation of an impulse around itself. The impulse traveling outward cools, forming the ego, I-story or crust of the world. The hub of the wheel is motionless, around which all spins, all radiates, all consolidates and changes. The hub of the wheel is its heart, its secret fire – magma in the roots and veins of Earth.
Solar eclipse takes place when the New Moon is conjunct to the Sun along a precise alignment of lunar and terrestrial orbital paths. The Moon’s disk which is normally effaced during this moment in the greater light, then moves across the face of the Sun, cutting off its light. For a short time, a small portion on the day-time hemisphere of Earth then experiences partial or total eclipse – darkness.
Rahu northnode 2. ( For earlier version of these two drawings, see my post “Sacred India Tarot : Creation of Chandra the Moon, 18 August”)
Lunar eclipse happens when the Full Moon is in opposition to the Sun along a precise alignment of lunar and terrestrial orbital paths. The Moon is then exactly the other side of the Earth. The Dragon as Earth’s own shadow eats or extinguishes the light of the illumined full Moon at night.
Ketu northnode 2
To our “two eyes” of Earth, the indescribable vast discrepancy in the actual size and distance between the two lights, appears as two “pennies” the same size in the sky … whose periods regulate our life. Isis and Osiris, in long ago Egypt, portray the cycles and the phases of the light, as Earth’s axis tilts around the sun.
Only an act of inward imagination can begin to differentiate the star – its size, depth and unending radiant centre – from the mirror of its cool earthbound satellite. Our coinage is the surface or apparent measure of things. The root of the Sanskrit word maya is ma – to measure: the skill or art of measuring the immeasurable, thus an impossible feat.
Light is our protection. When the light is eaten up by an approaching shadow, a hole or opening of darkness is created in the psyche. At this time, some signal enters through a blind eye and takes root. It seems the magnetic field of Earth is particularly vulnerable or sensitive at these fluid points where the planes of our sun and moon may merge. It loses during eclipse, a screen. An unpredictable cosmic current or ray may enter this nodal channel, engendering a clairvoyance of darkness or of unknown quantity. And so, open to sinister interpretation, the eclipse would often portend flood, invasion or plague.
Eclipse may equally prophesy the coming – like a thief in the night – of a saviour or Kingdom of righteousness. Light has a subtle and furtive way of creeping up on the disciple. The zen method disorients his three-dimensional habit or view of the world by means of koans or mental paradox – “to hear the sound of one hand clapping”. Wisdom does come like a thief in the night. It is not a parade of visions or anything to boast about. Wisdom removes vainglory.
An accurate prediction of an eclipse issues a warning to citizens and farmers and kings to see to their psychic and physical defenses and make sure there is some reserve in the granary. But an initiate receives a visiting card – an increment of Reality abiding beyond the known co-ordinates of space and time.
An image of this arises as I write – a convexity which is actually a concavity. Something which appears to be solid, yields infinite and vertiginous space. A wall of darkness is a channel. The river may be read to flow in both or all directions. The planes of the worlds dissolve. The matrix of reality fragments, like torn shreds of paper on which a story is written. And through the floating and faded static of those white shreds with black signs, appears the unknown field of yet some Being other. Time on a clock ticks regularly. But sometimes it seems each tick stops around itself. Then everything bursts into a slow motion sneeze. There is no end. No beginning: and thus no progression. The shreds of white paper with the pattern of the writing breaking apart, were a molecular skin or surface to watery element immeasurably deep, and this molecular lattice is flaking away … like the skin of a snake.
Chronos in rings and DNA, 1988
Snake. Water and Stone.
Look into the eyes and stillness of the snake.
Look into a river flowing by.
The strange solid fluence of the water is a wall of itself.
What is this, but a flow of stone?
kundalini shakti, 1988
The nature of flowing water is a very great mystery to me, looking into it, placing my hand down into it. The whole river, the wall of it cold, metallic, sings every shining living contour of stone over stones.
The song and substance never ends and never begins.
Yet everything can be dropped into it.
A path of gravity or falling object, cross-sections one instant of Time through the wholeness of the river which is timeless – the fourth dimension. Our world, our story, our vortex, is a minuscule fraction of the river, an instant.
Lovers at Buckland Filleigh
River through woodland. River through countries.
River, dark and secret, dark brown is the river, golden is the sand; and put your ear to the ground.
Where does the snake “really” begin or end?
You cannot say, for the snake is not his head or tail, but the ripple along all his atoms over the earth.
Now take him by the tail. How that ripple writhes the whiplash, body and soul!
Yet I AM the body of this snake, straight and true, for I wrestled the Angel, and became the source.
I am then always, all ways.
To use an old expression, we flip as “Heads and Tails” for destiny, the currency of sun and moon on the back of our hand which is earth. The Dragon describes a circle of 18.6 years around the zodiacal ecliptic. At his tail south of equator, he depletes his vital force; and at his head north of equator in the antipodeal or complementary zodiac sign, he restores it. Head to tail is a flow of nectar nourished by the earth: union. The Dragon’s Head is “turned towards” the sun or source-light. The Tail is empowered by the akasic residues or past-life memory – that is, reflected or lunar light.
In the old lore, the Dragon bites and eats up the Sun and Moon. This dragon of the earth is a black hole in the sky. And they must make much noise with the beating of drums and shouting and dancing, to frighten him away and let the maidenly lights come free. When there is no eclipse, the plane of Moon’s terriestrial orbit tilts across Earth’s solar orbit. Where the planes intersect is called the Node, north and south of the equator.
At a time of potential eclipse, the lunar orbit merges and comes to rest upon that of Earth’s own journey around the Sun. Sun, Moon and Earth lie then along one identical plane. The teaching seems to be of non-differentiation: Unicity: the underlying circling of all things. Those things which are different have melted or emerged into those which are the same thing. The resonance of the worlds is one note upon a string. But like the monitor of a failed heart, it registers no blip, no pulse.
This, to the life of the personal mind, which thrives on the differences of all notes, orbital planes and operatics in relation to one another, is DEATH. It is anathema. It is very frightening. The sky is livid. We don’t want this unity, this expiry, this harmony of silence. So we must sing and dance and put on the electrodes, perform an intensive-care of disturbance and distraction, wake it up, get it moving, jolt. Frighten away that intensely transcendent and all enveloping existence consciousness, inimical to the local livelihood of life. Move the electric spark. Move it.
And the body re-emerges and fights on.
Yes: for our light is our life’s wavelength, its spark of warmth and sentience. Earth is the blanket which shrouds the light; the shadow of Earth.
Out here in the Field of the Dead, upon the whitened grass, the Node where orbital planes cross and incite eachother, is the Dragon’s quiver: the friction of ascending and descending current. So also do violent ascending currents of warm air colliding with banked droplets of water release thunder and lightning, opening the heavens. In an aeon of falling rain in our planet’s “pre-history”, here’s a glimpse of the origin of life. Organic life comes forth in the rub of it, a spark of Genesis into the clay.
Rainbows. Consider now rainbows, how they are made; the crock at the end of the rainbow, ungrasped. Clay is the vessel. Gold grows there through the coloured prism of rain and sun. So long as we seek it over there, so long it lightly laughs and mirages us.
Snake. Water. Stone.
Stone is the metal of living Earth, polarized to her magnetic field.
When a homeopathic remedy or essence is repeatedly diluted, its molecular substance dissolves to an atomic potency – like the dissolution of the I-thought into the Self. Ramana Maharshi said: “All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.”
So it is with the magnetic property of stone. The blood of stone is her metallic vein; an ore extracted from Earth has a measurable pulse or current. But in stone as a whole, non specialized, the current is diluted to quintessence – to a subtle trace.
The soul of humankind might enter the soul of Stone, if attuned to the quanta of its auric field. There could be a fluid exchange of relative densities for certain concentrated purposes. I somehow feel this is so, and is a forgotten art. From the core of stone’s atomic lattice, there emanates like a flower’s scent, a wave. Like the blood of a snake the heart of stone becomes warm in sunlight, and seems to pulsate like an egg. This intuits throughout our subatomic world an unobstructed intercourse of all things – a potency. Eclipse of Sun or Moon in the Field of the Dead, is a key to this understanding. It affects subliminally the polar bias in the stone. The worlds, the elements, may enter one another at this time. “Oh, ye are Men of Stone!”
Loaves and Fishes
Water conducts electricity. If you are damp the shock is greater. Water conducts the current between the lights, male and female. The Snake is a coil of copper wire. The copper-serpent has minimal resistance to the flow of ions or current. It is coiled tightly around a magnet to amplify the positive and negative polarity, and generate power. It coils around the rock. An electro magnetic wave is like a concentric ripple traveling through water into which a pebble or leaf is dropped; like rings of time around the golden core of a tree. Travelling in every direction from source, a round-wave harnessed into a two-way cable or filament manifests as heat, as sound … or as a body (with all our history!) In the vein, that wave registers the pulsation of the poles. It spirals through transformers condensing the charge. The “resistor” is thrown into high relief and specialization in a series of interactions. Voltage channeled along a high-tension conduit is converted into available gross energy, such as speech. (See my 21 August post, Odds and Logs, near the drawing of Dakshinamurti.)
Electro magnet ’88
Yet I sense that the power which has not been harnessed, but quietly emanates and flowers is, though subtle, infinitely greater. It encountered no “resistors” to slow it down into manifestation. It has no sheath, cable or garment. The multiple conduits in the biological, mental and industrialized world are of a very different order from the emanation pure in Spirit. But it requires a refined and purified perception to realize this.
The stone is still and compact, a composition of space. The atomic lattice is dense, and yet infinitely spacious: it is. It has a primordial emanation.
It is like one who sits very quiet, very awake, very still. At Eclipse.
In esoteric parlance, evolutionary souls form an astral “copper serpent” or subtle collective body – a powerful tool or symbol of redemption. Moses revealed it through the Rod to the children of Israel. Jesus – JHShVH – surrendered himself on a cross of four elements – JHVH – and was resurrected from the tomb of rock, through this medium. It comes to the aid of awakening between incarnations, and thus between all the lines of life; and every time our thought falls silent. There are and have been always bodhisattvas who offer or train their body to channel the Copper-serpent. They gave to it their vital force, not mere lip-service or worship. They recognize the cross, the lamb of God and the tomb which opened like a mother’s thighs, as the process here and how, spiritually and psychologically, unfolds.
Copper is the metal which is ruled by Venus. In the highest spectrum, this is Love.
In the Beginning … (granite rocks from St Agnes, Isles of Scilly)
So here I stand at night in this Field of Death.
I am opening to sky and tall grey stones, and dance a little because I am happy or moved, but otherwise unaware that such a stream of ideas is storing itself to later flow through my recall of being here, when I start to write it down.
I register my surroundings, the Moon in the clear sky, a possible relation of the site to Carn Enoc itself, and the vague hearsay that this line of Stones was used to measure the eclipse. That is all. This sounded interesting, and drew me here to get a feel of it. I have no idea what I am investigating, if anything; I am simply pleased to be here, it was a tiring bike ride up the Gwaun valley, and perhaps “they” will tell me something if I am quiet for a few moments and put my ear to them, each one.
The Pembrokeshire Explorer mentions an old folk tale of the Ladi Wen – the White Lady. She wandered white about these fields at night. For thousands of years it was enough to know that she would kill any fool who strayed near the plain grey giants. “She wanders far and wide in her monthly journeying about the sky; wayward, she returns to her original resting place only once every 18.6 years.”
The great stones rise like sentinels from a banked hedge. There are four of them, and they are rather curiously squared-off. I did not stay for very long, but I put my ear to three of them for a moment. The place is remote, with a narrow lane running by the field. Before farmland tamed and desensitized it, this could have been a place of power that strings of generations might shun. The contour is broad and bleak. The half-moon sheds a Scorpionic witch’s intensity over the entranced field. The slopes fall away into the steep dark dells of the Gwaun valley where (I’m told) they still keep the old Roman calender. And the eye is drawn upwards and along the skyline to the stark tumulus of Carn Enoc about a mile away.
“Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” (Genesis Chapter 5)
Then Enoch (whom some say is Thoth, the higher Mind of Egypt) dissolved into the plane of God. His hill here is used to measure the eclipse.
A Capricorn glyph – a hermetic Divinity
(2) RAMANA’S HOROSCOPE
“One who sits very quiet, awake and still. At eclipse.”
“His face is like the face of water, always changing, yet always the same. It is amazing how swiftly it moves from gentleness to rock-like grandeur, from laughter to compassion. So complete does each successive aspect live, that one feels it is not one man’s face, but the face of mankind.”
(See “Visit to Arunachala 1993”, 22 June 2012 post)
17 October 1991
I did not know, during my visit to the Field of the Dead – (the Book of Unity?) – that I was about to hear a lesson about the solar and lunar ecliptic plane particularly relevant to my discovery of the teaching. After I got back to London, I found out that when Ramana Maharshi was born, his Sun and Moon, in Capricorn and Cancer respectively, lay along the lunar Nodes.
This looked most interesting, and was further emphasized by his axis of Will or Midheaven in the same place. I was enchanted to see this, being a new devotee, and myself a solar Capricorn and lunar Cancer.
I’m slow to comprehend things, and only today – more than a month later – the penny drops. I have not investigated the geometry of eclipse before. But as I wrote all this yesterday, (see previous pages) I vaguely remembered seeing something. On a hunch I got out Ramana’s horoscope, to check.
(This is of course, a western or “tropical” chart – Earth’s orbit around the sun, within the Solar System – and identified with seasonal archetypes. The Indian Jyotish zodiac is projected upon the actual constellations and their archetypes, outside the Solar System. Due to precession of the equinox over the last few thousand years, a 26-degree gap widens. In Jyotish, Ramana is in Sagittarius, with his planets placed accordingly. In practice, the two systems differ in emphasis and cultural nuance, but the character reading adds up to the same. It is like two sides of the same leaf, which appear different.)
I saw, in the light of what I had just discovered and learned, that in his astrological map there is no differentiation between the plane of the lunar orbit and that of the sun. His birth (during the annual festival of the Sight of Shiva on 30 December at 1 am 1879) took place at a time when ALL THREE PLANES OF CONSCIOUSNESS – the Trinity or tripura of Earth, Sun, Moon – were dissolved into One: what he called the Self.
This is the divinity which lies – like the staff – along the Midheaven axis of his birth and realization.
Only a few of the major aspects are shown here. There is a remarkable beauty in the Venus/Mars opposition. Venus and Mars-with-Pluto are in each other’s signs. This is called a Mutual Receptivity, and as they are in the signs where they are weak (antipodeal to the signs which they rule), conventional astrologers shake their heads. But who was Ramana? Was the way he abandoned his family and married the Hill, auspicious? – particularly in the Indian culture, where each generation of a family risks the curse of an unproductive sadhu? But look – the precision of the interplay suggests the intensity of Ramana’s darshan, his expressive eyes, and the Siva Ardhanarishvara – a vibrant marriage of male and female – in his silent presence.
No music could express it better. See Arthur Osborne’s description of his facial features, on the previous page. Libra – the sign inviting reconciliation, relationship-of-opposites and harmony – rises. The Midheaven axis and lunar nodes with Sun and Moon, passes through Capricorn and Cancer, the polarity of the Family of Man: old age and the child. There is an archetypal theme of nativity. The light is seeded in the darkest hour of night, at the lowest point of the year. As the moment of alignment to the ecliptic plane passes its peak, this child of exceptional promise is born.
The Moon when Ramana was born, was full, and about to wane. When they were carrying Shiva into the temple in the darkest hour of night, the little boy was born nearby. At that moment, with 21 degrees Libra rising (western tropical astrology), the root and flower of the Midheaven melted into those merged lunar and solar planes. Whether or not the moon itself came into earth’s shadow at that time, the ecliptic planes were unified, quiet and still. The realization flooded the boy at age sixteen, with an intense encounter and journey through the field of the dead – the death of the personal mind into a pure, unpersoned livingness of “I, I” everywhere. He lay down on the floor in deadly fear, and “died” in full consciousness, remaining awake and aware.
On another occasion, about sixteen years later in 1912, a devotee was with him. They were returning to Virupaksha Cave on the hill Arunachala after a bath. Near a place called Tortoise Rock, death again dissolved all the planes:
“The landscape in front of me disappeared as a bright white curtain was drawn across my vision and shut it out. I could distinctly see the gradual process. There was a stage when I could still see a part of the landscape clearly while the rest was covered by the advancing curtain. It was like drawing a slide across one’s view in a stereoscope. I stopped walking lest I should fall. When it cleared, I walked on. When darkness and faintness came over me a second time, I leaned against a rock until it cleared. The third time it happened, I felt it safer to sit, so I sat down near the rock. Then the bright white curtain completely shut off my vision, the head was swimming and the circulation and breathing stopped. The skin turned a livid blue. It was the regular death hue, and it got darker and darker. Vasudeva Sastri took me to be dead and held me in his arms and began to weep aloud and lament my death.
“I could distinctly feel his clasp and his shivering, and hear his words of lamentation, and understand their meaning. I also saw the discoloration of my skin and felt the stoppage of circulation and breathing, and the increased chilliness of the extremities of this body. My usual current of awareness still continued. I was not in the least afraid, and felt no sadness at the condition of the body. I had sat down near the rock in my usual posture and closed my eyes, and was not leaning against the rock. The body, left without circulation or respiration, still maintained that position. This state continued for some ten or fifteen minutes. Then a shock passed suddenly through the body and circulation revived with tremendous force, and breathing also, and the body perspired from every pore. The colour of life reappeared on the skin. I then opened my eyes and got up and said ‘Let’s go.’ We reached Virupaksha Cave without any further trouble. This was the only fit I had in which both circulation and respiration stopped.”
“Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self knowledge”, by Arthur Osborne
After this happened, in his thirty-third year – (and malnourishment could have been a contributing factor, but the soul’s response was pre-emptive) – Ramana Maharshi began to enter the physical world fully, to speak, to cook, to build, to bind notebooks and to participate in the life and work of his devotees. His sahaja Samadhi was by now in truth unchanging and unconditional.
AFTERWORD – Who is interested in eclipses?
When I was small, my mother woke me one night and carried me to a window to see an eclipse of the Moon. “It is very beautiful,” I said. “Can I go back to bed now.” In the morning, they talked of the eclipse. I was very angry, why didn’t they wake me up and show me? I had slept so deep, there was no trace of this event on my conscious mind.
Here is a picture I painted at school, of my family on holiday:
My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.
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